The Wall Street Journal has a piece on the growing PC infringement on the creativity of fiction authors and others in the world of make believe. Apparently the crux of the issue is that authors are being told they can’t write perspectives they haven’t personally experienced. I know that point has been made before. I seem to remember Spike Lee going after Clint Eastwood for a movie that would involve an African American. Mr. Lee suggested that Eastwood, being white, had no reason for making a film about an African American, to which Mr. Eastwood replied that he wouldn’t be bothered if Lee did a film about George Washington. Given the success of the Broadway musical Hamilton, I’d think that argument is closed.
It’s also been a topic of discussion about general issues, however. What right, so the argument goes, do I have to speak about being African American, or homosexual, or a woman, or outer Mongolian? And I sort of understand the point. I can’t really ‘get’ what folks go through if I’m not going through things from their perspective. In fairness, however, it stands to reason that people from other demographics shouldn’t presume to ‘get’ being a white, heterosexual Christian male in the Midwest in the 21st century unless they are one.
You can see where that becomes a problem. Not just because it would eliminate almost all opinions about anything but our narrow margin of the world, but it also misses the opportunity to learn about your own condition from those who see things from a decidedly different perspective. The same goes for fiction writing. The piece makes a wonderful point. Where would we be if some of the great authors of the past hadn’t written about experiences outside of their own demographic? Worse for it, I’m sure.
Again, don’t know if this is some big movement associated with the whole PC juggernaut or Identity Politics. It wouldn’t surprise me, but it might also be people just wrestling with the same topic I’ve heard discussed for decades. Those more into the world of modern fiction writing from the writer’s perspective might have more to say. I’m noting it just in case it does turn out to be something and I can look back on this for reference.